The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 22, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Washington, by the description glimpsed in "Washington", would, by today's priggish standards, have wound up considerably scorned, no doubt, by his latter day compatriots. A cursing, loud mouthed, distilling, cockfighting, slave-owning lout--and one with wooden teeth, no less.

We are often wont to forget our origins as a country, born of bloody revolt against Royalty.


Most Rigid Regard For Law Must Be Exacted Of Officers

Yesterday in County Court appeared City Detective Homer Gardner, charged with driving an automobile while under the influence of liquor. A young woman of North Allen Street testified that he had driven a car out of an alley and collided with her own car as she was driving along West Trade Street. She would not testify that he was drunk but merely that she had smelled liquor. So the court freed the policeman.

Nevertheless, the officer who brought the man to police headquarters corroborated the prosecuting witness's story of smelling liquor on his breath. Gardner, he said, got out of the car at the station without assistance; but the plain inference was that he had been drinking.

The Police Department is investigating the matter, should investigate it thoroughly. And if it finds that Gardner had been drinking, and even though he was not visibly intoxicated, a hearing by the Civil Service Commission is plainly called for. After all, there was the collision, which suggests reckless, if not necessarily drunken, driving.

Site Ed. Note: This piece hearkens back to Cash's story based on an interview with Wolfe's sister, Mabel: "His Sister Knew Tom Wolfe Well", July 30, 1939.


We Fail To Ask For An Interesting Story

Somehow it didn't occur to us at the time, but we really should have got around to seeing Dr. Dandy while he was in town. Dr. Walter Dandy, neurologist at the Johns Hopkins. Dr. Dandy was here to talk to the doctors about "Meniere's Disease and Other Vertigoes: Cranial Neuralgias and Other Diseases and Lesions of the Cranial Nerves."

But it was not Meniere's Disease or other vertigoes or cranial neuralgias that we would have wanted to talk to Dr. Dandy about. The Doctor is, indeed, a great authority on the subject, but then we aren't, and discover little enthusiasm in our dull pates for becoming such.

What we should have liked to talk to the doctor about was the death of Thomas Wolfe. For it was to come to Dr. Dandy in Baltimore that the Tar Heel novelist, who had written so often of trains, made his last train journey on earth, save the one when they took him up through the hills of Old Catawba in a box to lie too early and forever in his long grave with a scraggy hickory tree at his head. All the way from Seattle, across the sprawling length of the Gargantuan American continent and the mountains and the plains and the nights and the days, to see Dr. Dandy before he (Wolfe) should finally be done with seeing the human faces, which had so obsessed him.

"Tom," said Dr. Dandy, "I want to make a little hole in your head. Just a little hole. Do you mind?"

"Go ahead, Doctor," said Tom, smiling, "I don't mind."

And thereafter he fell to talking of what a fine hotel (the hospital) they had got into. The brain abscess was claiming its own.

Perhaps the doctor wouldn't have talked. But we should have liked to hear the story from him.


War Horrors No Longer Give The Cartoonist A Theme

From time to time in the last few months we have received from our cartoonists war cartoons of the kind called "heavy." That is, they depicted shocking skeletons or corpses on the battlefield. Herblock has not gone in for that sort of thing often. Fitzpatrick, however, has been more given to it.

But we have rarely used them, without thinking much about it. Somehow they seem banal and pointless, though we did not attempt to analyze the reason why.

But Low, the famous British cartoonist, has been analyzing the case, and in last Sunday's issue of the New York Times Magazine sets himself to explain it. The explanation he offers is this:

Everybody knows already that war is horrible. And they know it in a vivid sense that older generations did not know. The moving pictures, especially the news reels, the newspaper photographers, and picture books of the last war, such as that put out under the editorship of Laurence Stallings, have printed the horrors of war on the retinas of everybody. And so cartoons which attempt to call attention to the matter simply seem banal and mawkish. What people want from the cartoon now is sardonic analysis, not a mere pointing to the obvious.


Human, He Deserved All The Respect Legend Gave Him

He was a big man physically. At 40 he weighed 210 pounds. When he was got up in wig and formal dress he may have looked a little like Stuart's idealized portrait of him. But au naturel he was a red head with a weathered sanguine complexion, a crooked nose, and warts and wrinkles.

He was one of the richest men in the country. His estates in Virginia totaled 70,000 acres, in the near-West 50,000 acres. After he married Mrs. Custis he owned 317 slaves. Altogether his holdings were worth about $5,000,000 in terms of modern currency.

He could swear with great eloquence and gusto, often did. He was no prohibitionist. On the contrary, he was a distiller--at his Dogue Run place. And the records show plainly that at times he was inclined to dine according to John Falstaff's prescription of a ha' penny's worth of bread and an intolerable deal of sack. He loved the saddle, was a great hunter and fisherman, delighted to pursue the fox and attend and bet on cockfights, to match his own cocks.

He was fond of the races, played cards, and after his inaugural in New York haunted the theater. He collected books and now and then read them, though nobody could accuse him of being a bookworm. And he had more than a little private doubt about democracy.

In short a strapping, hearty fellow with a certain bluff brusqueness in his manner. A man who might have sat for a sort of idea-form of the calvary captain or well-heeled squire. But withal, he was more.

He was more even than a general who had won a war and secured the colonies' political independence from England. There was in him an austere dignity and integrity, a weightiness of judgment, power to see clearly where compromise was necessary, which made men extraordinarily amenable to his advice. More than any other man, save perhaps Franklin, he was responsible for composing the snarling interest of the colonies and the classes in the colonies and making the republic possible at all. If he was no such prig as the popular legend of earlier times made him, the great respect which the legend was meant to accord him was amply justified. Perhaps no other hero of the American people continues to stand up so well under the most rigid examination and analysis.

Walter S. Liddell*

Long years ago a Northern insurance company considered establishing an agency in the little country town of Charlotte N. C. A requirement, however, was that twenty people of the town, as an evidence of good faith and an indication of business prospects, should take out insurance with this company.

The twenty applications were duly obtained and forwarded to the company, which accepted all but one of the risks. That was on the life of Walter S. Liddell, who outlived the rest and died last night, a patriarch and a grand old gentleman, at 87.

The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court probably felt no more out of place than did Walter Liddell when, as a young man of 23, his family removed from Pennsylvania to Charlotte. That was in 1875. Reconstruction sat heavily upon the people of the South; and he must have felt the ill will which the inhabitants held for their late conquerors.

But it was characteristic of the man that he not only overcame this antagonism; he converted it, in short order, into respect, friendliness and genuine affection. The spacious lawns of his long-time residence on East Trade Street, where now the City Hall stands, were a symbol of the graciousness of the life he lived. His eminence in the Masonic order was a testimonial both to his popularity among his fellows and his readiness at all times to serve them.

His name alone, Walter S. Liddell, stands as a hallmark of distinction and personality and character, and the hundreds of friends who join to pay him a final tribute will be a testimonial of the high regard in which this adopted son of Mecklenburg was held.

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